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Stop Antisemitic Content in CA Schools


By Barbara Windham, Beth Am Jewish and Israel Advocacy Committee

An overtly antisemitic version of Ethnic Studies (ES) is now being promoted in California school districts by activists of the for-profit Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (LESMC) group. Portions of this curriculum are precisely the ones that the Governor and the State Board of Education rejected from early drafts of California’s Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum “due to concerns related to bias, bigotry, and discrimination.”

Among the many antisemitic examples in LESMC materials, they:

  • use maps showing ALL of Israel as Palestinian land
  • erase Jewish indigenous roots in the Middle East and mis-define Zionism to deny Jewish right of self-determination
  • falsely equate Israel with South African apartheid
  • promote BDS with false misrepresentations

LESMC is using a multi-pronged approach to establish its toxic agenda. In addition to pressuring local school districts to integrate their problematic content in ES courses and DEI training, they are also pursuing legislative and University-based approaches to make their twisted version of ES the de facto standard. By requiring new narrow types of credentials to teach ES or redefining what counts as an ES course for admission to the UC system, activists are trying to circumvent the more moderate, non-antisemitic, historically accurate ES which most Californians supported. LESMC is also taking this fight national, pushing legislation for poisonous versions of Ethnic Studies.

There are numerous things you can do to counter these disconcerting developments. Watch for antisemitic content at your neighborhood school and report it to Beth Am's Jewish and Israel Advocacy Committee (JIAC), who’ll steer you to the right resource. Share concerns with your friends and family so they watch too. Find out how your school plans to implement ES, and make sure they know you care about a constructive approach and will be paying attention. Sign a letter requesting LESMC’s poisonous content not receive state funding. Weigh in with the UC Academic Senate and CA legislators when they consider the upcoming toxic LESMC proposals.

To stay informed on this and other antisemitic developments, and to receive notice about future opportunities to act, sign up for JIAC’s updates by emailing BethAmJIAC@gmail.com.

Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782